How to Transition from OT to Working In Clinical ExperienceApr 17, 2023
How to Transition from OT to Working In Clinical Experience
Learn how this occupational therapist has transitioned into a career in clinical experience, working for companies such as Reactiv!
We interviewed Hannah, who has achieved amazing things in this field in order to help you learn how to do the same!
1. How did you come to work for Reactiv?
I kind of always knew I didn’t want to have a full time clinical career, even early on in grad school and fieldwork. I was always interested in how my OT background and experience could be translated into different areas and fields and particularly, I was interested in digital health and how tech can leverage our experiences and improve our ability to treat patients.
I graduated OT school in 2017 and was working full time mostly outpatient but was also working PRN in acute and inpatient the whole time. So I felt like I got a wide array of experience treating different patient populations. By 2019, I was really feeling burnt out working 50ish hours a week and felt like I wasn’t showing up for my patients the way I knew I wanted to and more importantly what my patients deserved. That’s when I knew it was time to seriously start looking into how to get into a new role.
I started where everyone starts..with a good ole fashion google search and I came across some OTs who were transitioning into tech and I was really inspired. I decided that I was going to go for UX and took a course spring - summer of 2020 during peak COVID. I got a certificate in UX and started working freelance with a friend in business and we worked on designing a networking app for females. I knew I wanted to be in health tech so I started reaching out to nonprofits and startups to start building my portfolio and took on a pro bono role with the Universal Design Project where I helped them streamline their user interview process. In parallel, I was also working on doing some UX audits, where I would audit existing websites and apps to help improve usability.
I was doing all this, while still working my full time and PRN OT jobs. In March of 2021, I attended the first Rehab Tech Summit and that was where a lot of my networking happened. I was working with a lot of rehab professionals who were also interested in tech and digital health.
Through a connection of a connection, I got introduced to the founder of Reactiv and they were looking for an OT to help build out their virtual clinic and help with the product. So I took on a contract role with them and that was in May 2021 and I’ve been with them since.
2. How do you enjoy performing clinical experience? Can you provide a little insight into a day in your life, approximate salary, hours, remote, and upward mobility as well as pros or cons?
This is so hard to answer. In my role, it has evolved and changed so much, which is very natural for any start up environment. Typically, I start by checking on the patients/users we have in the app and see if there is anything new or that needs attention. I work with the product team for any new features that should be added, help with out social media presence and marketing, work with the insurance providers, and admin for the clinical and I also treat some users in our app.
I am fully remote and work 40 hours some weeks and other weeks a lot more. But again, it depends on what we are doing. I think a pro has been getting experience with a lot of different things and a con is that there is no path. So you're paving your own path, which sometimes can be difficult navigating what to do.
In terms of salary, I think it is really going to depend on where you work, your experience, what your role entails and other factors. I will say for me personally, I immediately started making 25% more than I was in my OT role and I think this is fair to be expected.
3. Any tips for people wanting to get into this field?
I think for any role you're trying to get into, you need to be prepared to work and not think it's going to come easily. When I talk to people, they often want the easy way - to just apply and magically instantly get one.
For me, I was working full time, doing PRN as well, plus taking the UX course and side projects to grow my experience. But I knew it was just for a finite amount of time and that's what kept me motivated.
Another thing, which I think everyone talks about, is networking. That was key for me and the reason I ultimately got a role. I networked a lot on LinkedIn and reached out to people who I was interested in, whether it be the company they worked at or their experience that interested me.
4. Did you have to do anything differently to provide you were ready for this role? Any education you took to help you stand out?
I took the part time UX course through General Assembly, which helped me understand the UX process and product design.
I don't necessarily think you need to take a formal class but it was helpful for me to have a structured learning rather than being self taught.
5. Anything you wish you knew beforehand?
You're never gong to know it all. I'm constantly learning new things and that's never going to change. I don't believe that there is ever going to be a time where you feel 100% ready to try so I wish I knew that before. I had this preconceived notion that everyone just knows what they're doing but that is so false. Everyone is just trying to figure it out as they go as well!
Looking for more information or help to get this position or a similar remote one?
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